How Could an ER Miss Ebola? Let Me Explain.

October 16, 2014 2:43 PM

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How Could an ER Miss Ebola? Let Me Explain.

How did the emergency department staff of a Texas hospital see, and discharge, a patient infected with Ebola? Despite the fact that blame spreads through hospitals faster than hemorrhagic fever viruses, I'm not interested in pinning down a single person, or a single thing, which may have allowed that to happen. I am very interested, however, in offering a few insights into what combination of factors might make it easy to send home a West African man with a fever, without establishing the fact that he had a dangerous, contagious disease which finally caused his death.

First of all, America's emergency departments are straining to keep up with the volume of patients that come through their doors. In 2010, the number of visits in the US was 129.8 million, according to the CDC. This numbers rises every year, despite the belief that the Affordable Care Act would dire...

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